Species Discovery & Evolution

Our research concentrates on the discovery and characterization of marine organismal diversity and comparative studies of novel morphological systems in predatory eukaryotes (i.e., marine zoology & protistology).

We are fundamentally interested in the diversity and evolution of organisms, particularly traits associated with feeding, locomotion and symbiotic interactions. By addressing specific hypotheses about trait evolution using comparative molecular methods, we study the innovations and transformations associated with broad patterns of organismal diversity (e.g., convergent evolution over vast phylogenetic distances).

This exploratory approach is motivated by the thrill of discovery, the beautiful and the bizarre, and the yearning to build a more comprehensive framework for understanding the interrelationships of life on Earth. The marine lineages we work on tend to be drop-dead gorgeous and reflect spectacular morphological diversity, such as meiofaunal & planktonic animals, euglenozoans, dinoflagellates, cercozoans & marine gregarine apicomplexans.

Long Term Objectives

  • Discover and characterize novel marine organisms.
  • Reconstruct the evolution of complex ultrastructural traits.
  • Reconstruct instances of convergent evolution over vast phylogenetic distances.
  • Reconstruct patterns of trait evolution within the spaces between grains of sand.
  • Reconstruct the evolution of marine parasites.
  • Reconstruct the evolution of symbiotic innovations in low oxygen environments.

Departments of Zoology and Botany
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Email: bleander@mail.ubc.ca
Tel: 604 822 2474
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